May 2002 News

Hizb expels Majeed Dar, Zaffar, Yazdani

4 May 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar: The 20-month-long period of mistrust and internecine fissures in Hizb- ul-Mujahideen came to the surface this evening. In a dramatic development, Muzzafarabad-based ''supreme commander'' of the Kashmiri guerrilla outfit, Syed Salah-ud-din, expelled the former ''chief commander (operations)'' Abdul Majeed Dar, alongwith the former ''divisional commander'' for Srinagar-Budgam Zaffar Abul Fatah and former ''divisional commander'' for Anantnag-Pulwama Assad Yazdani. According to a local news agency, Kashmir Press Service, Hizb spokesman Saleem Hashimi confirmed over telephone from Muzzafarabad that the Dar-Zaffar-Yazdani trio had been expelled today. Quoting Hashimi, KPS reported that a high-level meeting of the organisation today held the trio guilty of ''disobedience'' and persuing ''thoughts and actions contravening the organisational policies''. The spokesman sought to make it clear that henceforth, Dar, Zaffar and Yazdani would be having no connection to Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Serious differences had erupted between Pakistan-based ''supreme commander'' Salah-ud-din and and Valley-based ''chief commander operations'' Majeed Dar in the wake of a ceasefire (with Indian security forces) in July- August 2000. While as Dar had sprung a surprise by declaring the unilateral ceasefire on July 24, 2000, Salah-ud-din had withdrawn the same from an Islamabad hotel on August 8. During the last 20 years, factional fued dogged the organisation to the extent that new commanders replaced Dar, Zaffar and Yazdani. It was during this period that two of Salah-ud-din’s most trusted commanders—Masood Tantray of Shopian and Muddasar Fazili of Kupwara—were eliminated by Special Operations Group of J&K Police. According to well-placed organisational sources, Salah-ud-din and his lieutenants believed Majeed Dar and his associates responsible for helping the Government agencies in the two assassinations. Hizb conducted an inquiry which observed that none but Dar and his close associate Farooq Ahmed Mirchal knew about the movement of Masood and Mirchal around the timing of their arrest by SOG. Masood had been lifted by SOG Pulwama from an acquaintance’s house in Pampore while as Fazili had been picked up by SOG Ganderbal from Srinagar uptown and later killed in Kupwara. The Hizb inquiry established that Intelligence Bureau (IB) had played a key role in the two particular killings which were carried out by SOG. It was this conclusion which resulted in the mysterious disappearance of Dar’s alter ego, Farooq Ahmed Mirchal, in Pattan area of north Kashmir, in August 2001. Even as the official statement of the Hizb was that Mirchal had been arrested by Rashtriya Rifles 14th Bn and later killed by forces in custody, Majeed Dar and his associates buttressed allegations that he had been killed by ''divisional commander'' Shakir Gaznavi on Salah-ud-din’s instructions. The atmosphere of mistrust grew menacingly but the outfit’s action remained restricted to the appointments of new commanders. The apprehension in Pakistan and Muzzafarabad was that execution of a death sentence against Dar, Zaffar and Yazdani would only create ''new Qazi Nisars and Maulvi Farooqs''. As the organisation took the extreme (soft) step today, Dar’s associate Zaffar Abul Fatah went public somewhere around the capital city here late tonight. Quoting his immediate re-action, another local news agency, Current News Service, reported that Zaffar was up in arms against the decision. ''Hizb is no individual’s or commander’s property. It’s the representative outfit of Kashmiri people and those whose sons gave the sacrifice of life for the organisation and the movement. Those sitting across the border are not only oblivious of the situation here (in Valley) but they have also no right to take such decisions'', was Zaffar’s reaction to the expulsion.


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